Friday, June 29, 2012

Instant analysis: Nats 5, Braves 4

Associated Press photo
Tyler Clippard is congratulated after escaping a ninth-inning jam.
Game in a nutshell: Apparently, the Nationals' scoring barrage this week wasn't entirely a product of Coors Field. Those bats were nearly as hot here in Atlanta, leading to a 15-hit night. Michael Morse led the charge with four hits, Ryan Zimmerman added two of his own, Ian Desmond chimed in with a two-run double and Jesus Flores clubbed a solo homer. That all put Ross Detwiler in position to earn the win, but the left-hander (after six dominant innings) crumbled in the seventh, giving all four runs back (the final two on Andrelton Simmons' homer). No worries, because Morse immediately responded with a homer off Chad Durbin in the top of the eighth, and Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard finished things off to seal a tense victory and give the Nationals a 4 1/2-game lead over the Braves.

Hitting highlight: What's been the key to the Nationals' sudden resurgence at the plate? How about the resurgence of Morse as a bonafide, middle-of-the-order threat? With a 4-for-4 showing tonight, Morse now has 12 hits in his last 19 at-bats. During that span, he's raised his batting average from .217 to .294. All along, the Nationals have insisted Morse just needed to see more pitches and get his timing down after missing three months with a torn lat muscle. Looks like he's got that timing down pat now, much to his team's delight.

Pitching highlight/lowlight: For six innings, Detwiler was brilliant, perhaps as good as he's ever been. The left-hander was efficient (only 74 pitches to record 18 outs) and even showed some intestinal fortitude in pitching his way out of a fifth-inning jam. But then came a Stage 3 meltdown in the bottom of the seventh. Detwiler plunked Freddie Freeman. He couldn't field a comebacker from Jack Wilson. He was charged with a balk. He served up an RBI single to Martin Prado. He allowed a sacrifice fly to Michael Bourn. And then he made the biggest mistake of all: a fat, 1-2 curveball to Simmons that landed in the bleachers and tied the game 4-4. Detwiler, who has completed seven innings in only two of 56 career starts, hunched over and put his hands on knees in disgust.

Key stat: In 255 career games against the Expos/Nationals franchise, Chipper Jones has hit 40 homers with 60 doubles and 154 RBI.

Up next: The temperature might reach 105 degrees when Stephen Strasburg and Mike Minor take the mound at 4:05 p.m. Saturday for the second game of this series. When's the last time Strasburg pitched in anything resembling normal weather?

45 comments:

MicheleS said...

WOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO!! Kardiac Kids at it again! Great Win tonight!

JaneB said...

How much do I LOVE these guys???? Rhetorical question.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Way to go boys! What can you say about Desi and Morse and Burnie and Clip!!!

Kardiac Kids got my heart pounding.

dan roberts said...

Tyler Clippard for president

Steady Eddie said...

More to the point, Clip for the ASG!

Doc said...

The Beast passes everybody in the lineup (except maybe TyMo) on his way from Mendoza Territory to BA Nirvana!

Let's scalp a few more victories from the phony tomahawk guys, and get ready to fire some rocks into the Giants' eyes!!!!

realdealnats said...

Listening after dark these days to a 20 year old radio on my side porch up on Cape Cod. 1500 am hanging in there just barely. PFB win. GYFNGoGo!

NatsLady said...

Clip not getting strikes, had to rely on his outfield. Luckily Ankiel was there for him.

realdealnats said...

Listening after dark these days to a 20 year old radio on my side porch up on Cape Cod. 1500 am hanging in there just barely. PFB win. GYFNGoGo!

rdexposfan said...

The offence has caught on fire and are now have a team BA of .247 and gone ahead of Chicago into 10th spot. GYFNG

rdexposfan said...

Nats have gone from .238 team BA after the 1st game of the Rockies series to .247. 9 points in 4 games. Unbelievable!!!! Where this offence come from???

baseballswami said...

Ross has been screwed around with for a while now . This was his second outing. Usually he loses it in the fifth. He went deeper than I have ever seen and pitch efficient. Good hitters. Held his composure longer. Better than Wang. He will need time. High ceiling. He'll be fine.

Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa said...

Hoping everybody out there is still OK. Half a million without power in NoVa alone, they say. Be safe, people.

NatsLady said...

Haven't lost power yet. R.A. Dickey is at it again.

baseballswami said...

Crazy storm. Glad I did not have to miss the gorse hacking! His batting average has risen faster than the dc temperatures. So cool. Having tight hammy issues, though. Can't be too awfully bad.

djinFl. said...

I agree baseballswami,
I was very encouraged by his outing.
I hope to see some consistency in his battery- mate for a few starts. Seemed to have a different catcher each of his last three starts before going to the pen.
Has to have an effect.

rogieshan said...

Nice to see a win where guys are picking each other up.

Thankfully, a loss was averted. Detwiler's implosion was hard to bare. Hope his confidence is only slightly shaken. Some have been talking about Lannan getting recalled, possibly taking Wang's roster spot and going back into the rotation, a change of pace to go along with the power arms. I don't know. I just can't see Davey Johnson backtracking on this one.

realdealnats said...

Swami--
My sentiments exactly on Det. Well put. Part heat/fatigue part mental toughness, but our 5th starter gave us 6 dominant innings with a decimated pen. What do the naysayers want for gripes sake?

sm13 said...

Glad to see Morse with a rocket to right. Not too many Nat fans in the house, but we tried our best to be loud. This team is building character. It would have been easy to fold after the 7th inning, but we held it together. Can't wait to go back to the Ted on Saturday and see Strasburg.

baseballswami said...

Not to mention the big RBI!!! And Burnett walking in his first at bat this year against Venters. These pitchers and their hitting just crack me up.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Corey Brown with 19 jacks. Hello Riz are you watching?

Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa said...

Hey, where's all the Doom Squad?

I am listening for the "We were wr-rr-r- .. We were wrr-rr ... wroooooo..."

Nope, can't say it. Just can't say it.

Say it, it's liberating. You'll feel better, trust me.

SonnyG10 said...

Davey had a lot of praise for Det in the post game interview. He said Det really saved his bull pen and it was too bad he didn't get the win.

baseballswami said...

Did clip pitch at all in coors? Seems like he has always pitched better when he pitches often. He got there tonight but was maybe a little rusty .

Soul Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said...

I think he got a few days off there, Swami. Davey does like to save a few rounds for the next fight when he can.

realdealnats said...

Soul--
Does your sofa give you advance notice when it's feeling hitterish?

sm13 said...

Clips save reminded me of the Chief - couple of base runners, couple of long fly balls.

MJR said...

So I stopped at the local watering hole on the way home to catch the end of the game. Bottom of the 9th, Clipp pitching to Freddie Freeman, count 3-2, and...the lights go out. Arghhh... I know we won but can anyone fill me in on the last 3 outs?

baseballswami said...

I think clip got the days off because of the offensive barrage for two of the days. Yesterday I think he was saving him for if we went ahead. He does seem to like pitching often. The rest of the pen rested tonight.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I have been very critical of Detwiler in the past and he was excellent tonight and not to blame for the meltdown. He was to be counted on to go as long as he could to protect an overused bullpen even though Clip and Wang were fresh in the bullpen.

Detwiler at 80 pitches getting stretched out had to be watched at first sight of trouble but Wang never got up instead Burnett was brilliant in getting out of the 7th and 8th.

All I can say is Storen can't get here soon enough. Davey needs 7 arms in the pen, not 6.

baseballswami said...

Mjr. Fly ball, walk, fly ball, fly ball. 2 of them to the arm. One to Harper. Less drama than it sounds like.

sm13 said...

It was pretty clear that Det was feeling the heat most of tonight. He walked very slowly back to the dugout after each inning and looked really flushed. This was a gutty performance.

Drew said...

It's past midnight and Danny Rosenbaum is turning back into a pumpkin.

He gave up 6 earned tonight in 4.1 innings. He's now 7-5 with a 3.17 ERA.

The good news, as noted above, is that Corey Brown continues to rake, cracking his 19th homer.

Keep an eye on Jason Martinson, a shortstop with a power bat. In nine games since his promotion to Potomac he has three homers and nine RBIs.

Alex Meyer had another good start at Hagerstown. He gave up one earned over five and his ERA fell to 3.40.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Drew, have you considered Rosey is injured?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Philthies 10 games back!!!!!!!!!!

Drew said...

Danny could be injured, or the book on him has gotten around the lending library.

I hope he's not hurt and that he returns to form. When I saw him in Richmond a while back, his fastball wasn't breaking 90. That means he needs pinpoint control of the slower stuff to keep hitters off balance.

He's getting hit so hard now I wonder whether hitters are taking the offspeed pitches and feasting on his fastball.

Gonat said...

Drew, there isn't the same type of scouting in AA minor leagues like you get in the Majors. A guy goes from Ace to a Disgrace 2 months later sounds like he is hiding an arm issue. Hope they can figure it out.

Bzl. said...

If I recall, I've heard FP say, before, that Burnett might be the best batting pitcher on the team, presumably excepting Strasburg, but he never gets at-bats.

Anything like this come up last night? My power (I'm out near Warrenton) went out during the 7th inning meltdown, so I didn't get to see or hear the end of the game.

Gonat said...

In the 7th, yes, Detwiler had his issues with the HBP in a 1-2 count and that Jack Wilson bunt single.

It happens. Then Martin Prado singles on a ground ball that Danny Espinosa tried to "ole" and didn't get in front of. Coulda, shoulda. We keep talking how Danny is in there for DEFENSE and he has to make a better attempt and that to pickup his pitcher.

I also think in normal times Davey pulls Detwiler after the HBP or at least I would hope he would have. Detwiler pitched well but like someone mentioned he unraveled in his head.

Gonat said...

Bzl., Sean Burnett walked to load the bases and unfortunately Bryce Harper struck out.

Venters only threw 1 ball in the strikezone to Bryce and unfortunately Bryce bit on sliders out of the zone.

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=458924&game=gid_2012_06_29_wasmlb_atlmlb_1&batterX=68&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif

Gonat said...

“I really wanted to finish that seventh inning,” Detwiler said. “The first six innings are definitely something to build on and I can definitely take that forward into my next start... (But) our hitters have been on fire lately. They really picked me up. With the four-run lead I had and then I gave four runs back. Morse coming back with that was just huge for the team.”
________________________________

The key as we know is seeing if Detwiler can go this deep in his next start and stay effective.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

My guess is our NIs are without power unlike our Nats batters. Be safe!

Maurymania said...

GYFNG!

Maurymania said...

So what does it mean?

Drew said...

Maury: if you're referring to GYFNG, it means: Go You Freaking Nats Go!

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